Tips for Organizing Your Paper Files/Documents
There is nothing like good organization for storing things away. Although storing things away for neatness is important, it is more valuable to be able to retrieve the exact document or file that you need, at the time that you need it. This is where a good filing system comes in. The best way to file and store important paperwork is to create sets of categories and sub-categories. Although every file that you have may not fall neatly into a category, it should be quite easy to create a category for the majority of your documents.
When you are creating a filing system, your categories should be quite broad and your sub-categories can be more detailed and narrow. Sub-categories should always fall within or under the broader category. Filing cabinets can then be organized according to the categories that you have established. The more categories that you establish, the easier it will be to narrow in on the exact file that you need so think carefully about these.
As well as labeling and creating tabs inside of your filing cabinet, you can also color code your files. Although this may take a little more work initially, it will serve as a visual aid during those times when you are hurriedly searching for an important document. If you use hanging folders, you can use one color for your first category, another color for the second category and so-on. Before long, you will naturally associate categories to their colors, meaning that you will find files much quicker. Be sure to label each hanging folder with its sub-category name so that you do not have to look inside at the documents to find out what it is.
If you have a huge filing system, you can use a very similar idea except that you can designate each drawer of your filing cabinet to a particular category and then you would know exactly which drawer to go to when searching for documents. In addition to this, I would recommend using dividers to further sub-categorize the drawer, again making it easy to narrow in on the file that you are looking for.
If the files that you are storing are files for individual people, then it makes sense to alphabetize your files based on the individual's last name. This is a standard form of filing personal records. Color coordination can still be used in this situation, especially if individuals fall into differing categories, age groups or membership levels.
With efficient, organized filing systems such as those mentioned above, your business life will definitely be made a whole lot easier.
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